Hanging out in the 50s at Hamburger Heaven
December 21, 2011
PALM BEACH, USA – Ah the 1950s. A simpler time, when life was lived in black and white, the kids were all right, and a humble hamburger was considered “heaven.” Ok, fine, we admit it, we weren’t there, so we can’t really attest to the first two…but we’ve been to Hamburger Heaven, and we’ll tell it to you straight: it’s pretty darn good.
This vintage throwback has been dishing up classic burgers since Tommy Dorsey was in the charts and Joan Crawford was winning Oscars (if you can’t remember back that far, we’re talking ’45). Maybe times have changed (the cars parked outside certainly have–where have all the tailfins gone?), but these burgers are still the real deal–you’ll definitely need at least two hands to tackle one of these babies. The rest of the menu still hits all the right “sock-hop set” notes, too–think fries, shakes, pie, and strong coffee.
And that’s not all. Besides the authentic eats, the stripped down “décor” is exactly what you’d expect from a classic burger joint (just a U-shaped counter in the middle and a handful of vinyl booths around the walls), and the long-suffering waitresses are fittingly (we’d even say “charmingly”) gruff. To top it all off, the prices authentically reasonable (especially for Palm Beach). No more cokes for a nickel, but they’re not far off.
The only thing that doesn’t quite jive with the 1950s vibe is that the crowd is very “cream of Palm Beach” (meaning aging moguls and socialites)–definitely a bit more posh than the swinging diner kids we imagined. Still, we’ve got to admit that while they may look a bit out of place today, we’re guessing many of Hamburger Heaven’s customers were bebopping to jukeboxes back when it first kicked off.
So, what are the downsides of this cute little trip down memory lane? (Yes, dear savvy readers, we know you favor 21s century skepticism over guileless post-war optimism.) Well, to be honest, the burgers aren’t always perfect, the counter gets crowded at lunchtime, lines can be long in high season, snap-happy tourists interrupt our meals, and it’s closed on Sundays. Still…maybe, just like the ’50s, Hamburger Heaven isn’t as perfect as we’d imagined, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still pretty swell, dang it.
Read about Hamburger Heaven in our Palm Beach Guide
314 S. County Rd.
Palm Beach, FL
Rebecca Salois contributed to this post.